Arctic and Antarctic travel is more luxurious than ever

Arctic and Antarctic travel is no longer just for rugged adventurers and more luxurious than ever

Courtesy of EYOS

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Visiting the Arctic and Antarctic Circles was once one of the most extreme activities human beings could undertake. Now it’s not only easier than ever, it’s also more luxurious.

From hard-to-believe hotels nestled in the Arctic wilderness to incredible day trips by air to Antarctica, there are more and more options to suit every traveler’s tastes.

By Air or Sea

Expedition ships may seem like a matter of utility – and any ship sailing to Antarctica must be up to the task – but sophisticated options abound for the modern adventurer.

Ponant’s Commander Charcot made her debut in November (see page 10) and will spend the season in Antarctica before heading to the Arctic this summer. Le Commandant Charcot is set to become the first luxury passenger ship to reach the true geographic North Pole and uses an eco-friendly hybrid propulsion system to reduce its footprint. There is even a research laboratory to study the polar environments it passes through. Creature comforts, meanwhile, include Alain Ducasse cuisine, flowing Veuve Clicquot champagne, an indoor pool, and blue lagoon-style heated baths. Shorter crossings can start at around $10,000 per person with prices up to $40,000.

Kayaking with EYOS.

Courtesy of EYOS

Even more exclusive cruises are available from EYOS, a private yacht charter company with worldwide operations. At the end of 2021, EYOS launched the MV Nansen Explorer in collaboration with Nansen Polar Expeditions. The vessel was designed as an arctic research vessel, but has been completely overhauled for luxury living. The seven-cabin vessel features an Ice-1A class hull, allowing her to reach dangerous waters rarely ventured by such craft. While EYOS specializes in charters, it now offers cruise-style cruises with per-cabin bookings, ranging from a photography-focused trip to Antarctica to a heli-skiing adventure in Greenland, with bookings from approximately $17,000 per person.

For those who prefer to avoid rough seas altogether, Explorer Journeys offers an Antarctic day package with private flights from Cape Town. The five-hour scenic flight from South Africa aboard a Gulfstream jet brings travelers to Wolf’s Fang Runway in Antarctica, where they can engage in a number of activities throughout the day before the trip to return. Select dates are available for booking in 2022 and 2023, with prices starting at $27,999 per person.

Helicopter exploration with EYOS.

Graeme Richardson

For nostalgic travelers, OceanSky Cruises plans to launch airship flights from Svalbard to the North Pole and back. The 36-hour voyages will include two nights with eight spacious, private cabins and an onboard experience the company likens to yachting. The outfit hopes to make its first trips in 2024 or 2025. OceanSky hopes to put stylish air travel back in the limelight, while proving that lighter-than-air technology is the future of low-emission, eco-friendly air travel. of the environment.

Stunning Stays & Extreme Expeditions

Off the Map Travel’s new Sápmi Experience is a three-night stay offering a cultural experience with the indigenous Sami people of Sweden. Take a guided ski tour on wooden skis, experience first-hand reindeer herding and ice fishing, and partake in a Swedish fika, or coffee break, a time for relaxation and social connection , next to a bonfire on top of a frozen river.

During the winter months, travelers will admire the Northern Lights and during the summer, they will revel in the midnight sun. At the end of the day, guests retire to a traditional Sami lavvu, or tepee, although this one has been outfitted like a luxury cabin. Itineraries start at around $2,500 per person.

Catch the Northern Lights with Off the Map Travel.

Graeme Richardson

For those planning their own trips, consider a stay at the Arctic Bath Hotel & Spa, a floating sauna retreat in Swedish Lapland that freezes in the Lule River in the winter and floats above water during the summer. The Manshausen Cabins in Norway offer another unforgettable stay. The seven cabins were designed by famous polar explorer Børge Ousland, designed to create harmony between guests and the nature around them. Cantilevered and built with a cutting-edge architectural style, the cabins are crafted from natural materials and feature floor-to-ceiling windows offering views of the Steigen Archipelago.

At the other pole, White Desert operates two Antarctic adventure camps, including Whichaway, with half a dozen sleeping cabins, cozy common areas and unique activities. Week-long camp adventures can be booked throughout their operating season from November to January, with prices ranging from $48,000 to $96,000 per person.

This article originally appeared in the March 2022 issue of Penta magazine.

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